Rebels 6 Ice 4
It wasn’t exactly the way they drew it up, but the Red Deer Rebels got a crucial two points in the WHL standings at home Friday night against the Kootenay Ice.
The first contest after a five-game road trip produced mixed results for the home side, but ultimately Red Deer found a way to come out as 6-4 winners against a team they had lost to twice in five games this season.
“There was a lot of sloppiness in the game. Turnovers that you don’t like to have,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said.
“Didn’t like the goals we gave up, didn’t like any of the penalties we took, but we found a way to score six goals and win a game and that’s what we need to do at the end of the night.”
In their last 21 games, Friday was only the third time Red Deer scored six goals and just the fourth time they scored more than four over that period.
Austin Glover, Cameron Hausinger and Akash Bains became quite the dynamic line for the Rebels in the win.
The group combined three goals and seven points in a rare appearance on a line together.
Sutter said he mixed the lines all night to find a spark for his team, and Glover added he liked the space created by his two young linemates.
“They’re young and they play with some energy, so they made my job pretty easy tonight. They went in, got on the forecheck and turned some pucks over,” said Glover, who was named third star on the night for his two-goal, one-assist performance.
Red Deer jumped out of the gate with three goals just three minutes and 37 seconds apart midway through the first period and looked dominant for the majority of the first two periods.
Austin Pratt cashed a rebound for the Rebels first goal and his 13th of the year, Hausinger also bounced in a loose puck, and Glover went high glove for his tally.
Evan Polei rocketed home a wrist shot 48 seconds into the second for his team-leading 27th goal of the year. Polei was named first star with a goal and two assists, but it was the 20-year-old’s effort that pleased his head coach.
“I thought Evan played really well tonight. I thought he played heavy, he played hard. He was hard on pucks, he won a lot of one-on-one battles. He was a responsible player,” Sutter said.
Some lazy and sloppy late in the second and early in the third almost cost the Rebels as they gave up two goals that cut the lead to 4-3.
“I just thought we were sloppy in a lot of areas,” Sutter said.
“I thought our first period was good, but our second period we got sloppy and started taking some penalties. Six minor penalties in the first two periods, that’s not the way we want to play.”
On power play in the third, Michael Spacek blasted a shot past Jakob Walter’s blocker for his 26th goal of the year to all but seal the deal for Red Deer.
Glover potted his second in the night on a scramble in front late in the third that was subject to a lengthy review.
Lasse Petersen made 25 saves in the win for the Rebels.
Red Deer enters a vital two-game home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen Saturday night. After a loss Friday in Medicine Hat, Calgary trails Red Deer by four points with two games in hand for third in the Central Division.
“When you find a way to get two points we’re going to take it and move on,” Sutter said. “It’s a big win but we need to be better.”